To the editor:
Referring to Raleigh’s “Moral Monday” protests, Sen. Thorn Goolsby changed the title to “Moron Monday,” and insulted the protesters with derogatory terms.
Somecitizens agree. Criticizing and insulting protesters is not uncommon on other continents or on ours.
Thomas Paine was criticized and insulted for writing “Common Sense,” but continued to write encouragement for our nation’s colonists to protest and oppose British exploitation of the colonies through taxation without representation. Colonists protested via what became known as “The Boston Tea Party,” because of Parliament’s manipulation of the British Empire’s tea trade in favor of the British East India Tea Company, which was owned in part by members of Parliament. Sadly, after the Revolution, veterans were hunted down and killed for protesting unjust foreclosures and limited representation in the Massachusetts legislature during (Daniel) Shays’ Rebellion.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton protested limited rights for women; Ernestine Rose protested limited human rights; Dorothea Dix protested the appalling conditions of prison confinement. Are they criticized and insulted today? Medgar Evers was assassinated by Byron de Labeckwith for protesting minority voter restriction in Mississippi, but his effort did not die with him. Laurinburg’s own Terry Sanford was highly criticized for attempting to extend educational opportunity, and opposing racial discrimination; how many of his critics are buried in prestigious locations such as the crypt at Duke University Chapel?
Goolsby referred to today’s Raleigh protesters as “old hippies.” I suspect he is at least partially right. Was it responsible political leaders, or young protesters insulted with the title “hippies,” who protested the sacrifice of America’s troops on the altar of war profiteering in Viet Nam? I know some of them protested the sacrifice of our troops on the same altar in Iraq. Today, they are protesting issues such as tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of N.C. workers, the revival of predatory lending that so exploits N.C.’s working poor, a return to voter restrictions for minorities, and the transfer of funds from public schools to private schools for the privileged.
Obviously, critics either deny or simply cannot see the great good the “old hippie morons” are attempting to accomplish in Raleigh through civil disobedience, and many who can see will continue to criticize for political purposes. But considering the pattern, history will be kind to today’s protestors, in spite of the criticism and insults they are now enduring, now won’t it?
Robert C. Currie Jr.